After spending quite some time lounging in Yelahanka (partly to recover from the trip to Mumbai and our adventures in Bangalore), five of us decided to follow Poornima back home to Madurai for the weekend. Maddie’s post covers Saturday’s adventures, where we drove up the mountains to Kodaikanal, a beautiful hilltop town with breathtaking views of the valley everywhere you look.
My post is about the Sunday that we spent in Madurai itself, which started with a delicious breakfast of idli, dosa, appam, chutney, and coconut milk, all courtesy of Poornima’s mother. Once she was satisfied with how much we had eaten (we weren’t complaining), we headed to the famous Sri Meenakshi Temple, a huge complex with intricately carved, vividly painted statues of Hindu deities. It was finally time for Avia to fulfill her dream (and possibly her main objective of coming to India) of feeding a cow, and riding an elephant.
“What’s a reallyreallyreally big word that means excited or happy or something? [Me: jubilant? ecstatic? cock-a-hoop?] Anyway, first, I hopped around to the big cow, and it wrapped its tongue around the leaves and grabbed them out of my hands. I have never seen such strong tongue muscles in my life. Then, I fed the little cow, but its tongue wasn’t strong enough, but it was so cute and I really wanted to hug it. But I didn’t. ‘Cause it was dirty.”
Sadly, she didn’t get to ride an elephant, since they had been taken back to their stables by the time we got there, so all we got was a glimpse of one wagging its tail at us.
We did get to visit the temple museum, that is said to house a thousand pillars, each of which produces a different musical note. Naturally, we had to verify this by tapping on every pillar that we came across. We didn’t really get the result that we were hoping for, but the rest of the temple was definitely not something we get to see everyday. After relaxing by the temple pond, surrounded by ancient stone walls, carved to depict stories from Hindu mythology, we headed on to something else that Avia (and Madeleine and Madelyn) had been looking forward to for a long time – sari shopping.
“Well, we walked into the store, and turned to the what I thought was a small back room. But then there were even more saris, and they were so colourful, and I was so excited, and I picked out like seven, and then put a couple back ’cause they were too expensive, and then got like twelve more, and then made Vivek hold them, and then thought reallyreallyreally hard and picked out one [takes breath]. And now I’m really happy, you guys.”
After lunch and a few more sights, we had to make our way back to Bangalore. This time though, we were traveling in a sleeper coach of the Madurai-Mysore express. It was Madeleine’s turn to be excited, as we got on her favourite mode of transportation (she’s scared of airplanes and crazy highway driving). We had a great time squeezing in onto one bunk and chatting late into the night (“like a moving sleepover!”), only to be shushed by the poor lady trying to sleep on the bunk below, who managed to hear us over the cacophony of the train.